Wednesday 16 July 1662

In the morning I found all my ceilings, spoiled with rain last night, so that I fear they must be all new whited when the work is done.

Made me ready and to my office, and by and by came Mr. Moore to me, and so I went home and consulted about drawing up a fair state of all my Lord’s accounts, which being settled, he went away, and I fell to writing of it very neatly, and it was very handsome and concisely done. At noon to my Lord’s with it, but found him at dinner, and some great company with him, Mr. Edward Montagu and his brother, and Mr. Coventry, and after dinner he went out with them, and so I lost my labour; but dined with Mr. Moore and the people below, who after dinner fell to talk of Portugall rings, and Captain Ferrers offered five or six to sell, and I seeming to like a ring made of a coco-nutt with a stone done in it, he did offer and would give it me. By and by we went to Mr. Creed’s lodging, and there got a dish or two of sweetmeats, and I seeing a very neat leaden standish to carry papers, pen, and ink in when one travels I also got that of him, and that done I went home by water and to finish some of my Lord’s business, and so early to bed.

This day I was told that my Lady Castlemaine (being quite fallen out with her husband) did yesterday go away from him, with all her plate, jewels, and other best things; and is gone to Richmond to a brother of her’s; which, I am apt to think, was a design to get out of town, that the King might come at her the better. But strange it is how for her beauty I am willing to construe all this to the best and to pity her wherein it is to her hurt, though I know well enough she is a whore.

30 Annotations

First Reading

Pedro  •  Link

"and I seeming to like a ring made of a coco-nutt with a stone done in it, he did offer and would give it me."

Was this a ring made from polished coconut wood or the famous “Maharajah coconut pearl”?

Portuguese and Spanish traders introduced the coconut into West Africa after 1500. They called it “coco” from the Portuguese or Spanish slang word for monkey face, supposedly because of the eye pattern on the endocarp and the brown, fibrous hair (husk).…

The seventeenth century was the era of baroque design, reflecting the parallel renewal of classicism. (The term baroque, possibly from the Portuguese baroca, for misshapen pearl, was used by later critics to disparage the styles of this century.)…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"But strange it is how for her beauty I am willing to construe all this to the best and to pity her wherein it is to her hurt, though I know well enough she is a whore."
Ah, me, sometimes life imitates theatre -- recalling Sam's viewing John Ford's "Tis Pity She's a Whore” Mon. 9 Sept 1661…

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"she is a whore"
methinks Sam uses the word very looselly,like the rappers of today use the word Ho;
She wasn't a whore; she was the King's Mistress.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"she is a whore"
Yes, Sam may use “whore” loosely, but would that be, ah, inappropiate?
OED “whore” 1b “More generally: An unchaste or lewd woman [Lady Castlemaine, I wot, is that]; a fornicatress or adultress [aye]…. Occas….applied opprobriously [tho not by Sam, or by him with regret, as he says]to a concubine or kept mistress,” which she seems to have been and perhaps thought herself when she was at Hampton Court, or apparently at home. [Very complex and interesting person — screwed-up and therefore the more attractive, we might say from some experience.]

Clement  •  Link

"...seeing a very neat leaden standish...I also got that of him." Based on Creed's standing with respect to Pepys, and since Sam seems to be willing to pay for material things that he fancies, are we to believe he bought the standish from Creed? Or did he simply claim it as a gift? That doesn't seem likely, but would be a significant revelation, either about Sam or about his relationship with Creed.
Sam has been a little assertively presumptuous lately, but taking a gift seems extreme.
Without knowing the details of the transaction, a recent event may have parallels: an American sports team owner took off his diamond and gold Super Bowl victory ring and showed to visiting Russian President, Vladimir Putin. Putin said "thank you" and put it in his pocket. It was neither paid for, nor returned.

Mary  •  Link


Pepys is clearly referring to some kind of travelling writing-case here, rather than the stand-alone covered ink-well defined in the background note. L&M edition substitutes 'leather' for 'leaden', which makes much better sense.

Mary  •  Link

" gone to Richmond, to a brother of hers"

L&M note that in fact she went to the home of her uncle, Col. Edward Villiers, who lived in Richmond Palace.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"and so I lost my labour"
Does Sam mean he did't get to show the fruit of his morning's work and the praise he deserves? or...? Apparently Moore's request thate he do Sandwich's accounts didn't reflect a sense of anxiety on the latter's part, since he left after dinner with Mr. Edward Montagu and his brother, and Mr. Coventry at least. Surely there will be a time at which he can report, etc. Has he not done this later in the day previously?

Pedro  •  Link

"But strange it is how for her beauty I am willing to construe all this to the best and to pity her wherein it is to her hurt, though I know well enough she is a whore."

I think that Sam gives us an insight to how many of the time would consider "the Lady". Being the King's mistress would not warrant being called a whore, but her "gallantries" were not confined to one of two, and she was noted for her promiscurity. Several historians agree that beneath her tantrums, tempers and outbursts, there was a very calculating and manipulative womam.

Pedro  •  Link

"being quite fallen out with her husband"

A little background to the event from Davidson--

"It was at the christening of this child of hers, whose paternity she used all her powers to link with shame, that an open rupture came between her and her husband. He insisted on considering the boy his lawful heir, and made preparations for having him baptized by a priest, as he himself was a Catholic. This his wife violently protested against. She said that the child was the King's son, and should be in his father's religion. She tore him from her husband and the priest, who had already christened him, and had the baby christened again by a clergyman of the Church of England, with Charles and the Earl of Oxford as godfathers, and Lady Suffolk, Catherine's chief lady of the bedchamber, for godmother. This so roused the poor-spirited and dishonoured husband that he went of in a rage to the Continent. She seized all the money and jewels of his that she could lay her hands on, and departed at once to her brother's house at Richmond, so that she might be close to Hampton Court and the King.

language hat  •  Link

"...though I know well enough she is a whore."

A striking conclusion to another fine sentence. I don't think the word "whore" has ever been limited exclusively to professional prostitutes; Sam is using the traditional extended sense of "sluttish woman," and however we may deprecate the sexism involved, his conflicting sentiments are well and concisely expressed.

language hat  •  Link


The OED defines it as "A stand containing ink, pens and other writing materials and accessories; an inkstand; also, an inkpot." An explanatory citation from not long after this time:

1688 HOLME Armoury III. xiv. (Roxb.) 20/1 This fashion of Horne.. is now converted into Lead, and hath the denomination of a standish: or of tyn and soe haue both Inke place, sand box, candlestick and a long box to lay wax, pens and knife in: all fixt togather, yet all but a standish.

Jeannine  •  Link

Lady Casltemaine's not so wholesome character.
In response to above, Lady Castlemaine was both the King's Mistress and a whore, and often at the same time. She was well initiaited prior to her marriage to Palmer, manipulated her way up to Charles, but never stopped entertaining various lovers. During the years spent with Charles as his mistress she had many other lovers ranging from other upper class men right on down to a juggler who she is said to have paid to service her. There are some that seem to hint that she also slept with Charles' son Monmouth. None of this seemed to bother Charles as he was rather cut from the same cloth and was never "faithful" to her either. Interesting stories include the paternity of one of her children --she wanted Charles to own the child (better for her if he did) so when Charles questioned the paternity she flew into a rage and threatened to bash the child to death if he wouldn't claim it, which he did. Pedro politely says she was "calculating and manipulative", which is probably one of the kindest descriptions of her nature ever in print---perhaps that characterization would apply to a moment when she was counting her accumulated wealth and feeling "sweet and kind" towards the world ~~ a rare day for sure! Stories of her outbursts, temper tantrums, arrogance, vulgar, overtly and higly sexualized antics abound (not included here due to spoilers!) and if only half of the episodes written about are true, then to call her a "whore" would be a compliment. The one title that she did receive, which never fit her true character, was "Lady".

Robert Gertz  •  Link

A link to some details about poor Roger Palmer...I allow the "poor" as he married Barbara before the Restoration rather than plotting to use her beauty to advance. He also seems to have been kind to her children, insisting on taking them as his own at times when Barbara was threatening to bash one skull in if Charles didn't acknowledge it.…

Pauline  •  Link

"...I also got that of him."
Clement, I’m wondering if Sam doesn’t get the leaden standish from Captain Ferrers, who goes along with him to Creed’s and has already given Sam a ring as a souvenir from Portugal. This second item is an “also”.

Australian Susan  •  Link

I took "lost my labour" to mean his time spent rushing through the accounts, travelling to the Wardrobe and hanging about to no purpose.
I concurr with Pauline - I think the "him" refers to Ferrars and it is from him that Sam got the handsome accessory, but the getting of both items seems grasping and rude to me. Or have I just got the 17th c. mores wrong?

Pauline  •  Link

'the getting of both items seems grasping and rude'
I'm assuming that Ferrers was with Sandwich in Portugal? I have friends just back from Colorado; they brought me a piece of a gold mine coring, which is very cool. I grasped, indeed (it has a nice heft); but was pleased and far from rude. Perhaps Ferrers has made Sam a bit coy about it by offering up choices.

Pauline  •  Link

Shoot! Should have reread the entry
About offering to sell the rings, etc. Still, I have some sense over the last years that Ferrers is fond of Sam, and especially fond of Elizabeth, and assumed he was willing to indulge Sam's preferences. But A. Susan is likely very right in sensing that Sam is here taking advantage of that fondness.

Tom Burns  •  Link


Apparently an inkwell or inkwells on a tray or in a box. I wonder if "leaden" refers to pewter - that seems a more likely material for a decorative item than the soft, heavy metal.

I found several nice examples of 17th and 18th cetury standishes by searching for standish with Google's image search. I'm not posting them because they were all associated with auctions and are probably ephemeral.

Glyn  •  Link

How far different is Pepys' reaction to today's readership of Hello or other similar magazines? He makes allowances for her because she's a beautiful celebrity that he wouldn't if she wasn't beautiful or famous, and he knows that's wrong even as he does it. And who would be the equivalent today - Paris Hilton maybe?

Paul Chapin  •  Link

Who would be Lady Castlemaine's equivalent today?
You would need to look for somebody prominent in her own right who consorts with the most powerful political figures of the day. Paris Hilton doesn't qualify unless somebody catches her in bed with George Bush or Dick Cheney (now there is a truly disturbing image). Neither does Monica Lewinsky, who had no stature of her own. A recent example might be Elizabeth Ward Gracen, the former Miss America who had an affair with Bill Clinton. A better one would be Marilyn Monroe with John Kennedy, although the public didn't know about that one until much later.

GrahamT  •  Link

Who would be Lady Castlemaine's equivalent today?
Let’s see: Charles having a semi-public married mistress while being himself married to a publicly acceptable trophy bride?
Why does the name Parker Bowles spring to mind?

Paul Chapin  •  Link

Good point, GrahamT.
I guess the name didn't spring to my mind because Castlemaine is noted for her beauty.

laura k  •  Link

Who would be Lady Castlemaine's equivalent today?

Perhaps the reason we have trouble thinking of a modern equivalent is because women’s role in society has changed so much since Lady C’s day. Women in western society have access to power and prestige in their own right, not only by dint of who they are married to, who they sleep with or whose children they bear.

When looking for the modern equivalent of Lady Castlemaine, we might do better to think in non-sexual terms, at the power dynamics that underlie the sex. From Jeannine’s description above, I’d personally go with Ann Coulter, but that’s just me.

E  •  Link

Any comparison?

It sounds to me as though we should be very grateful that our generation got Mrs Parker Bowles and not Lady Castlemaine. Our Charles seems an improvement on Sam's, even if not perfect.

Second Reading

Mary K  •  Link

I'm not sure that "proud" is quite the right adjective. She was anxious to get herself out of a potentially dangerous situation.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

DNB has:

‘ . . Whether or not Nell herself ever aspired to promote the ‘protestant cause’ . . her political associations, in conjunction with her English birth and protestantism, meant that Nell was usually compared favourably with the duchess of Portsmouth in opposition satire, such as that of 1682, A Dialogue between the Duchess of Portsmouth and Madam Gwin at Parting, which celebrates both Nell's Britishness

In my clear veins best British bloud does flow
Whilst thou like a French tode-stool first did grow

and her relative low cost:

I neither run in court or city's score,
I pay my debts, distribute to the poor.

The well-known anecdote of Nell's coach being surrounded by an angry mob who thought she was the duchess of Portsmouth until she put her head out of the window and reassured them with the words, ‘Pray good people be silent, I am the Protestant whore’, is usually dated to March 1681 . . While the story has not been confirmed from any contemporary source, it is from about this date that the epithet ‘the protestant whore’ is applied to her in contemporary satire . . ‘

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Evidently, it either rained after midnight, or Pepys isn't superstitious about St. Swithin, the 9th-century bishop of Winchester famous for the folklore that if it rains on 15th July (St. Swithun’s day), it will rain for 40 days.

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